Au­thor writes book about in­dus­try dur­ing wartime

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Goolis­tan Cooper ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­

A BOOK look­ing at the forgotten role of the great Bri­tish milk­man dur­ing the two world wars has been writ­ten by a lo­cal au­thor.

Bri­tain’s Wartime Milk­men has been penned by Tom Phelps of Green Lane, Hilling­don, and gives a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the role played by the hum­ble milkie dur­ing the First and Sec­ond World Wars.

Mr Phelps worked for 30 years in the dairy in­dus­try and col­lected a mass of images dur­ing that time, many of which are used in his book.

The re­tired grand­fa­ther said his in­ter­est in the topic started when he joined Unigate in 1970. He was re­spon­si­ble for train­ing new staff, when older milk­men would teach the new kids on the block.

Mr Phelps said: “I was meet­ing th­ese men who were per­haps work­ing in the 1930s, they were young boys who re­mem­bered the day of the milk pram.

“I’d lis­ten to th­ese old chaps tell their sto­ries about the trade dur­ing the Great War and 1920s and be­came in­ter­ested.”

In an­other po­si­tion with the com­pany, he would go on to meet milk­men who had served for 40 years or more and lis­ten to what work was like in the 1920s and 30s.

The book also looks at the de­liv­ery of milk rang­ing from the yoke and pail used dur­ing the reign of Queen Vic­to­ria, to the milk per­am­bu­la­tors popular dur­ing the First World War, the horse and cart, and fi­nally to the elec­tric milk float which rose to promi­nence to­wards the end and af­ter the Sec­ond World War.

The book comes out on March 5 and costs £9.99.

It is avail­able from book­shops, on­line re­tail­ers or di­rect from the pub­lish­ers on www. chap­lin­

Images from the book writ­ten by Tom Phelps (above right)


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